December 24, 2012
With all the college football bowl games on TV this time of year, I got started on updating stadiums used for football, such as the Superdome, and then one thing led to another, and instead I ended up doing all three baseball stadiums in Florida. With the icy-snowy "wintry mix" outside right now, it helps to think about places with sun and palm trees. Anyway, the main new detail you will notice is the entry portals, and in each case they served as useful reference points that helped me make other corrections.
I decided to update the Tropicana Field diagrams after Matt Ereth informed me that temporary bleachers were installed there for the Beef O'Brady Bowl football game, which was held on December . The University of Central Florida easily beat the Ball State Cardinals [, 38-17]. That bowl is a matchup between Conference USA and the Big East Conference, which recently suffered a defection by several basketball-focused schools such as Georgetown, and may even dissolve. What a pity.
As for the diagrams, the main changes involve the curvature of the upper deck behind home plate (more gradual than before) and the external structures around the periphery of the dome. I also modified my "proposed alternative," leaving intact the lower deck between the foul poles, and removing them (as before) from left field, where the bullpens ought to go.
That, in turn, prompted me to update the Marlins Park diagrams. Once again, including the entry portals proved very useful for the purpose of getting other details as accurate as humanly possible. With more photographs to anaylyze than were available when I did those diagrams last spring, I was able to make a number of improvements in accuracy. For example, the upper deck under the scoreboard in center field tapers a lot more than I had realized, but the lower deck does not. (It extends back several rows from the rear of the upper deck.) The concrete support pillar in back of the Marlins' dugout (third base side) is about 15 feet further to the east (left field) than I had thought. There are a few other minor changes as well.
I also had to modify the text in the final paragraph, in light of the recent "fire sale" by franchise owner Jeffrey Loria. Boo-oo!!
But wait, there's more! I also updated the Sun Trust (Dolphin) Stadium diagrams. With perfect external symmetry and zero curves to deal with, that one was a cinch, relatively speaking. Aside from including the entry portals, the only thing that really changed was the position of the light towers, which are aligned with the stadium sections and hence the entry portals.
Speaking of which, the Miami Dolphins are seeking further renovations to Dolphin Stadium, which had its 25th "birthday" this year. Among the changes being contemplated are some kind of canopy or even a retractable dome, but that's absurd, I think. According to stadium expert Marc Ganis, Dolphin Stadium is
too big for regular-season Dolphins games. Sun Life Stadium is the sixth-largest in the NFL, but Miami-Fort Lauderdale is the 16th-largest TV market. And the upper deck, with approximately 35,000 seats, is the largest in the NFL.
The NFL's newest stadiums in suburban Dallas and East Rutherford, N.J., have taken the bigger-is-better approach, but most new or renovated stadiums, including those in Indianapolis, suburban Phoenix and Chicago, are reducing capacity to increase ticket demand.
"The ideal NFL stadium for regular season is in the low- to mid-60,000s," Ganis said. "In many ways, smaller is better."
See palmbeachpost.com; hat tip to Mike Zurawski. That mentality would explain why they have been shrinking FedEx Field so much that fans won't be able to buy any game day tickets for the upcoming showdown between the Redskins and the Cowboys. Stupid, stupid, stupid...
Thanks to Larry from California for calling my attention to the Giants, who signed second baseman Marco Scutaro to a three-year, $20 million contract in early December. He was acquired from the Colorado Rockies in a trade last July, and became a free agent at the end of the season. He of course played a big role in the Giants' triumph last October. He probably would have gotten a better deal if he were younger, but he is 37 years old. And the Giants also signed center fielder Angel Pagan to a four-year, $40 million contract. See MLB.com.
And another former Yankee has signed a contract elsewhere. Pending a physical exam, Nick Swisher will get $56 million in a four-year deal with the Cleveland Indians. It's the "biggest free-agent signing in Indians franchise history." See MLB.com; hat tip to Bruce Orser.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas, baseball fans!